Troubled Teen Options

Military Camps Aren't The Same

Military teen boot camps are being subjected to great deal of scrutiny of late and there is nothing at all wrong with rooting out those operations that have been running unprofessional and abusive programs. But it is unfortunate that the media is too focused on the negatives and fails to acknowledge the many teen programs that are exemplary and produce impressive results. Or I should say impressive graduates. One such program is the Youth Achievement Academy run in conjunction with the National Guard. “William Cooley is a 24-year-old sheriff’s deputy on road patrol in Butts County, but seven years ago was a rudderless young man wearing a Youth Achievement Academy uniform. “If it wasn’t for this place, I’d either be dead or in jail,” Cooley said during a return visit Wednesday. “I saw four of my friends die from drugs or gang violence, and there came a time when I realized I had to do something with my life, so the friends I had went their way and I went mine.”


Another academy graduate is a surgeon in Virginia, according to Col. Frank Williams, Georgia National Guard’s youth program director.” Though the taxpayers foot the bill, it is half the cost of what it takes to house a prisoner for a year. Furthermore, it’s success rate certainly saves society and the taxpayers in the end - not to mention stopping teens at risk for a life of addiction and crime from going down that road. “Officials at Fort Gordon boast that 75 percent of teens in their 51/2-month program graduate, and of those, 90 percent land full-time jobs, go on to college or join the military.” (Unknown source) By Ann Walker